Merry Christmas from the Smiling Idiot

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

I would liked to have included a nice wintry scene from beautiful Brighton, but with a high of 13° C forecast for tomorrow (Christmas Eve.) and no snow or ice anywhere to be found, I have included a photo taken at Lake Louise, Alberta back in November.

Merry Christmas from the Smiling Idiot

Lake Louise, Alberta – Nov. 11, 2015

 

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The Corporation of the Municipality of Brighton New Year’s Levée

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

Brighton’s Mayor Mark Walas and Council are hosting a New Year’s Levée on Friday, January 1, 2016

What is a levée?

Today, levées are the receptions (usually, but not necessarily, on New Year’s Day) held by the governor general, the lieutenant governors of the provinces, the military and others, to mark the start of another year and to provide an opportunity for the public to pay their respects. – Wikipedia

Brighton's Mayor Mark Walas and Council are hosting a New Year's Levée on Friday, January 1, 2016 Brighton_Council_New_Years_Levee_2016

“Enjoy your visit to the charming harbour town of Brighton, located on Highway 2 along the scenic shores of Lake Ontario, an hour and a half east of Toronto.

Brighton offers the tranquil atmosphere of a small town with a wide range of boutiques and annual activities destined to leave you with lasting memories! Our range of services appeal to seniors, young families, and new residents including well-maintained parks, an attractive education system and an active Community and Recreation Centre for all ages! These assets, paired with the diverse selection of residential housing and our positioning in the region, make Brighton an attractive place to live.

One of the greatest year round destinations in Brighton is Presqu’ile Provincial Park; famous for lakeside camping, swimming, windsurfing, hiking and birding with over 220,000 visitors annually. Visitors to the park receive a warm welcome at ‘The Gates’, a gallery and performance space for those who share an interest and passion for promoting arts and culture! Lasting memories are also made each fall during Brighton’s Applefest, a celebration of our rich agricultural land and abundance of apple orchards!

Explore Brighton’s history with a visit to Memory Junction , Hilton Hall Heritage Center and Proctor House Museum.

These experiences and assets within the community strongly impact Brighton’s business climate. With its heritage mainstreet, front-porch Victorian flavour and proximity to the 401, Brighton provides the backdrop for a thriving commercial area. This year we are thrilled to be offering new business opportunities with 50 acres of industrial lands that will be serviced and available for investment. This will provide much needed space for growth of our industrial/ commercial business base.

Located at the western gateway of the Bay of Quinte Region and east end of Northumberland County, we invite you to visit Brighton and let us provide you the best of both worlds in this region!” – www.brighton.ca

 

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Ontario Ombudsman’s 2014 – 2015 OMLET Annual Report

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

Ombudsman’s Message – A New Day for Municipal Transparency

Read the Ombudsman’s fourth annual report on the work of the Ontario Ombudsman’s Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (OMLET), which is solely devoted to upholding Ontario’s municipal open meeting law, also known as the Sunshine Law.

Ontario Ombudsman’s 2014 – 2015 OMLET Annual Report

OMLET Annual Report 2014-2015 – Facts and highlights

 

Ontario Ombudsman OMLET_2014-2015_Report

Ontario Ombudsman’s 2014 – 2015 OMLET Annual Report


OMLET Annual Report 2014-2015 – Ombudsman’s remarks

Thank you all for being here today, in person, through teleconference and via our live webcast.

 

The report I am releasing today is our fourth Annual Report on our investigations of closed meetings in municipalities across the province. But it’s also an ideal opportunity to discuss the exciting changes that are coming just 16 days from now, when our office will be able to take complaints about all aspects of municipal government for the first time.

 

We know there is strong public demand for this new oversight. Since I arrived at the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office in 2005, we have had to turn away more than 11,000 municipal complaints – more than 2,200 of those in the year since Bill 8 was passed.

 

Today’s report illustrates how far we have come in eight years of handling complaints about closed municipal meetings. We have seen cases increase – especially in the past year. But we have also seen many municipalities improve their practices as a result of the hundreds of recommendations we have made.

 

A few familiar issues continue to crop up – like informal gatherings of council members that sometimes veer into discussing business. And a few new ones have surfaced, like exchanges of emails that become illegal “meetings” when councillors use them to make decisions away from public view.

 

In the past few months, we have issued findings on another 30 meetings on top of the 85 covered in this report. We received good co-operation and constructive feedback from municipalities about our recommendations and process. We also participated in consultations with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on the Ministry’s review of municipal legislation. Our
recommendations reiterated what we have said in our OMLET reports – for example, that enforcement of the open meeting rules should be consistent, with one investigator for all municipalities, and there should be consequences for violating the law.

 

After January 1, we will finally be able to help the public with their concerns about any aspect of municipal government, from garbage and snow removal, to social programs, to conduct of councillors. And we will do what we have always done with provincial government complaints: Refer people to the right place to fix the problem, cut through red tape, investigate when needed,
and recommend solutions to systemic problems.

 

We have been very busy over the past few months, reaching out to municipalities and explaining how we work. We have made it clear that our role is not to replace accountability mechanisms at the local level. In fact, I strongly encourage all municipalities to have their own. We will be there to make sure they work as they should, and to step in where they fail, or cannot go.

 

Our Office will continue to use our resources to educate government officials and the public about our work. For those who may be watching, I want to add that we invite municipal stakeholders to contact us if they have questions about what’s to come. We look forward to being able to help all citizens with their unresolved municipal issues in the future.

 

Now, I’m happy to take your questions – first here in the studio, and then we will go to the journalists joining us by phone.

 

– Acting Ombudsman Barbara Finlay

The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Legislature who investigates complaints from the public about Ontario government services.

Learn more about the Ombudsman

 

In 2015 there were five complaints against the Municipality of Brighton and the Ontario Ombudsman conducted one investigation and filed one report that was presented Brighton Council in October 2015.

 

Do you have a complaint about an Ontario government service? Start the complaint process here.

 

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Happy Holidays 2015 from Brighton Council – [Unofficial Video]

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

Some residents have expressed their concerns over whether members of Brighton Council are able to work together to ensure that the operations of the Municipality are managed professionally and transparently so as to provide the best value to our community.

The following videos clearly demonstrate that if council members put their minds to it, they are certainly capable of operating as a well choreographed team.

Let’s hope that this joyous spirit of collaboration carries over into the New Year!

 

Happy Holidays from Brighton Council 2015 – Unofficial Video

 

 Brighton Mayor Walas and Deputy Mayor Tadman – Happy Holidays 2015

 

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